This colorful Greek pasta salad is brimming with vegetables and tossed in a simple but flavorful vinaigrette, making it a tasty side dish! This make-ahead recipe is ideal for a picnic or a simple packed lunch.

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This simple pasta salad is filled with delicious Greek flavors and plenty of vegetables for a healthy, simple dish. It’s a great way to get in a variety of nutrients in one dish, and it’s easy to substitute ingredients based on what you have in your pantry. When it’s made with whole wheat pasta, it’s a good source of protein and fiber.

Pasta salad is also the perfect dish for meal prepping and taking on the go. This dish can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for several days, making it a convenient option for busy days. It’s also easy to pack, making it an excellent option for picnics, lunch at work, or school.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Pasta– I recommend a short pasta like penne or fusilli. I used Barilla Protein Plus pasta as it has extra fiber and protein, making this recipe extra filling. You can use chickpea pasta if you want to keep this recipe gluten-free.
  • Olive oil– I recommend high-quality olive oil with a light, fruity flavor.
  • Feta cheese– Feta adds a tangy and creamy texture. I prefer to use a block of feta and crumble it to measure 1/2 cup, rather than buying pre-crumbled feta, which tends to be less creamy.
  • Black olives– Sliced black olives add a briny and rich flavor. You can skip them if you’re not a fan of olives.
  • Onion– Fresh red onion adds a sharp, slightly sweet flavor. You could substitute with shallots if preferred.
  • Tomatoes– Chopped cherry tomatoes add a burst of sweetness. Larger slicing tomatoes can be used; just chop them into small pieces.
  • Cucumber– Chopped cucumber adds a refreshing crunch. I love the flavor and texture of English cucumbers, but any cucumber can be used.
  • Bell pepper– I used red bell pepper which has a slightly sweet flavor, but any color bell pepper can be used.
  • Red wine vinegar– This adds a tangy flavor to the dressing. Feel free to substitute with champagne vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or white wine vinegar.
  • Garlic powder– I prefer garlic powder instead of fresh garlic since it has a more mild flavor.
  • Oregano– Dried oregano adds a classic Greek herb flavor.
  • Parsley– Fresh parsley adds a savory, fresh flavor to the pasta salad. You could substitute with fresh dill for a different flavor. (I love the flavor of fresh dill, but it can be hard to find!)

The Key to Perfect Pasta Salad

This is a trick I learned from America’s Test Kitchen. The key to the perfect pasta salad is actually to overcook the noodles just slightly. I cooked mine one minute past al dente. Then after draining the pasta, rinse it under cold water. (Normally, I’d never advise rinsing pasta, but this is a unique case!) This helps stop the cooking process so the noodles don’t get soggy. By overcooking the noodles slightly, they’re the perfect texture once cooled.

homemade salad dressing

The Best Greek Pasta Salad Dressing

I wanted to keep the vinaigrette simple, but still add lots of flavor so I based this recipe off my simple Greek salad dressing. The secret is to use high-quality olive oil. The vinegar adds brightness and the olive oil adds a subtle, fruity flavor. A little garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt and pepper are all you need for spices.

How to Make Greek Pasta Salad